Speaking to The Journal, this is what the manager had to say;
“After 10 games is when you can judge whether or not you have made a good, bad, or indifferent start to the season, at the moment we are just getting going”.
Last season has set a standard for everybody at St.James’ Park and Newcastle’s blistering start gave United 22 points after 10 matches, which meant third place in the league.
Newcastle currently have 4 points after 3 games and would need 6 wins out of 7 matches to equal last season’s start, or the 6 wins plus a draw to better it…
Now I’m not a betting man but that is a massive ask when you look at the matches we have coming along, never mind the injuries piling up and a lack of significant squad strengthening in the summer.
When you compare the opening fixtures to last time around then it becomes an even bigger mountain to climb. The way the fixtures fell last year, in those first 10 games Newcastle only played Spurs and Arsenal of what would end up being the top 8 clubs at the end of the season.
This time though, in the first 10 matches United have been given Chelsea, Spurs, Everton, Manchester United and Liverpool, only Arsenal and Manchester City coming later.
With home matches against Norwich, Manchester United and West Brom, plus aways at Everton, Reading, sunderland and Liverpool I think a realistic return would be around 12 or 13 points, which to me would give us a decent start of 16 or 17 points in the circumstances. I know it rarely works out that way but you’d have to target wins against Norwich, Reading and West Brom and then hope to avoid defeat in the others and pick up draws and hopefully the odd win.
Maybe a better comparison is to look at the results we achieved in these same ten fixtures last time;
Wins – Manchester United (H), sunderland (A), Villa (H), Chelsea (A), Norwich (H)
Draws – Spurs (A),
Defeats – Liverpool (A), West Brom (H), Everton (A)
(Funny how losing at home to West Brom doesn’t come as quickly to mind as winning at Chelsea!)
Reading have obviously just been promoted so maybe it is fair to include the early draw at newly promoted QPR last season as a like for like.
It is true that there are no easy matches but it is also true that there are no matches where it is impossible to contemplate winning, those against Chelsea and Manchester United proved that last season.
It all depends on what team and in what shape Alan Pardew can put our eleven out in, after ten matches we should have a pretty good idea where we are heading this season and I’ll revisit this after our visit to Liverpool on 4th November.